Thrifty Thursday: Getting You…and Your Luggage Home Again (That’s Why They Call It “Magical” Express)

Last week, I discussed using Disney’s Magical Express to get you…and your luggage from the Orlando airport to your Disney resort hotel. In my opinion, this is a great perk that Disney offers, and can be a real savings: no need to arrange for car rental, or for a limo or taxi to get you from the airport to your hotel.

But, you may ask, what about on the way home? Can I take Disney’s Magical Express (DME) back to Orlando airport? What about my bags?

So glad you asked. 🙂 That happens to be what I will talk about today.

Basically, your return trip home starts at the same time that you made your Magical Express reservations. When you provide your flight information TO Orlando, you will also provide your flight information home FROM Orlando. And when your yellow DME luggage tags and voucher booklet arrive in the mail, there will be a page that lists your flight information for your return trip.

One thing that will be noted in the booklet, is that you will receive your instructions for the bus and for your luggage about 24 hours before your checkout. You will get an envelope slipped under your door at that time with everything you need to know to get you…and your bags….to MCO in plenty of time for your flight. Basically, how this will work will depend on what airline you are flying home on.

If you are flying with one of the airlines that participate in the Resort Airline Check-In, you will have the chance to check your bags in (and receive your boarding pass) at your resort hotel. Most major domestic airlines do currently participate, which is nice.

Simply hand over your bags just as you would if you were checking in at the airport, and you won’t have to think about them again until you land back home.

Yes I know: Trusting them to make it home safely is another huge leap of faith for us control freaks. 🙂

A few other thing to know about Resort Airline Check-In: You will be responsible for paying for any baggage fees in advance. There will be instructions in the above mentioned envelope about where/how to call and pay the fees, so if you are flying with one of those airlines that charges for checked bags, be sure to take care of this before you bring everything to the bag check station. (Nice money-saving perk: fly Southwest, you get two bags per person, free. 🙂  ) In addition, your luggage must be under 50 pounds: if it is over, you cannot use this service, and will need to check in at the airport. Lastly, this service is only available on domestic flights.

If your airline does NOT participate in the Resort Airline Check-In program, then you are responsible for bringing your bags with you, on the DME bus, and you will check them at the airport as usual.

Either way, you will be told what time to be at the DME bus station at your resort, to board the bus back to MCO. Be aware that Disney will allow LOTS of time to get you there: they don’t want to be responsible for anyone missing their flight home! So for domestic flights, expect to be picked up at the hotel about 3 hours before your flight (your instructions will tell you exactly when) and for international flights, it is closer to 4 hours before.

Even so, depending on the time of your flight, you may be able to still get in a half-day at the parks or more, if you can get your bags checked in early enough. The Resort Airline Check-In hours of operation are 5 a.m. to 12 p.m., so go early and then go play until your DME bus leaves! If you have carry-on items, you can leave them with bell services, and then retrieve them when you return to board the bus. (Note that you can check in no later than 3 hours prior to your scheduled flight departure time, and everyone flying must be present at check in. In addition, be sure to allow enough time, as during peak times there may be a line at the desk…)

So you can check in, go play for part or most of the day, then return back at your resort to take the bus back to the airport. While it’s admittedly a sad little ride (most of us call it the “Tragical Express”), there is an other video playing to help ease the depression. Once you arrive at MCO, you then just go straight to security. So easy and hassle-free!

Just to share though: while I love the convenience…..I must say that I do hold my breath at baggage claim back home, as I wait for our suitcases to appear. They do though. 🙂 Just like magic.

I guess that’s why they call it Disney’s Magical Express!

Note: If you have never used Disney’s Magical Express before, be sure to read the FAQs on the Disney website to help with your planning.

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